29th Mar2018

‘Black Lightning 1×10: Sins of the Father’ Review

by Jason Brigger

Stars: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams | Developed by Salim Akil

BL-101-1

With only four episodes left in Season 1 of Black Lightning, the writers are ramping up the intensity and action as the season is fast approaching its conclusion.

Anissa/Thunder infiltrates the ASA controlled lab holding the children from the Freeland Experiments and realizes children showing signs of being meta-humans are being kidnapped and are frozen in a state of suspended animation. Anissa returns home and informs her father of the kidnappings and Jefferson is ready to jump into battle as Black Lightning to save the day. The only question left unresolved is what happened to the victims from the Freeland Experiments 30 years ago? Were they murdered or are they in a state of suspended animation as well?

Upon revisiting the warehouse, Thunder is shocked to see the warehouse empty of victims and equipment. Black Lightning and Thunder are ambushed by ASA soldiers and for once, we see an action sequence at the beginning of the episode and not at the end as Lightning and Thunder make quick work of the soldiers. I’m really enjoying seeing Thunder and Lightning play off each other in the action scenes and appreciate how they are using each other’s strengths to take down their enemies. I was hesitant at first of the Thunder character but her action scenes have really added to the series.

LaLa’s hallucinations/spirit guides are evolving and are taking more forms than just Lawanda as his cousin Will, the man responsible for kidnapping Jefferson’s daughters, shows up to chat this week. Luckily, Will does not hold a grudge for LaLa murdering him earlier in the season and seems to finally focus LaLa on his crime empire, something LaLa has seemed to forget recently. On a side note, LaLa should really stop talking to his spirit guides when he is in public…it’s freaking out his gang.

When one of LaLa’s gang members questions LaLa’s mentality for taking over the 100, LaLa does his best Mike Tyson impression and rips the man’s ear off! LaLa then shoots him several times. It’s good to have the old LaLa back. The good news for LaLa is the rest of his gang realizes that LaLa has a plan and is done reporting to others. LaLa is the boss now which may not make Whale happy.

After Jefferson finds out one of his students is kidnapped by the ASA (see below), he tries to protect Jennifer and asks her not to go to school. Jennifer is not happy about his request and feels no one is really listening to her and. After a heated discussion with Anissa, Jennifer is obviously still struggling with her new found powers and just wants to go back to her old life, something that isn’t happening. Jennifer (and even me) do not really know what her powers truly are but unlike Anissa who sees her powers as a gift from God, Jennifer feels her powers are from the devil.

After ten episodes, the Pierce family feels like a real family. There are arguments and disagreements that every family has but it feels organic. I’m not sure how the writers unlocked the “special sauce” to make the Pierce family so “real” but they need to bottle it and sell it to other television shows. Even Jefferson and Lynn’s relationship, despite being divorced and having conflicting opinions on many topics, come across as still in love and even flirty at times. The Fantastic Four may be the first superhero family but the Pierce family is the better one.

Gambi’s protected life took a major turn for the worse this week as his former employer, the ASA, is onto Gambi breaking into their warehouse and allowing Black Lightning to shut it down. Gambi is not being truthful with the ASA so they decide to do what every shady government agency in television does…they kidnap him. After a vicious beating and a little waterboarding, the ASA is going to find out how devoted Gambi is by bringing Jefferson back to the warehouse and threatening to kill him unless Gambi reveals who Black Lightning is. This goes about as well as you think and the two ASA agents are now no longer in the world. Unfortunately, since Jefferson saved Gambi, the ASA now knows who Black Lightning is and Jefferson’s family has to hide out in his father’s old house for their own protection.

One Good Thing:

  • Two-Bit returns! Two-Bit has not been seen since episode 5 but he returns this week as the only witness to the ASA kidnapping of a meta-human girl. I appreciated that Jefferson was so welcoming of his childhood friend Two-Bit into his home as he knew right away Two-Bit was upset about something when he came knocking at Jefferson’s door. Jefferson understands Two-Bit may be a low-level criminal and may not have made the best choices in his life but he still tries to do the right thing when the situation arises. This added level of empathy to Jefferson is another reason this show stands out from many other superhero shows.

One Bad Thing:

  • Nothing. It is a rarity but I could not find one thing to nit-pick this week. All storylines flowed and even the sub-plot with LaLa and his spirit guides, which annoyed me in the prior weeks, worked perfectly.

What We Learned:

  • LaLa may have superpowers. Hints of LaLa’s exaggerated strength is shown when he rips the gang member’s ear off and takes the gun from his hand, so is LaLa gaining strength from his spirit guides? LaLa is also getting more tattoos on his chest as his cousin now resides as a permanent residence after visiting LaLa this week. If every person LaLa has murdered begins to visit him and reside as a tattoo on his body, LaLa may run out of space by the end of his journey.
  • Greenlight has pushed other drugs out of Freeland. After Black Lightning and Thunder destroyed the drug-manufacturing warehouse last week, Greenlight is becoming more and more difficult to find in Freeland. LaLa decides to start pushing the old-fashioned drugs on Freeland but it appears the buying public no longer wants these “lesser” drugs. When LaLa asks for a large sum of these old-fashioned drugs from a dealer, the dealer is hesitant due to the lack of assurance for return on investment. This all changes though once LaLa puts up his own mother up as collateral. Evil LaLa is a great addition to this series.
  • Vice Principal Kara Fowdy is working for the ASA. Well, this surprised me, even more than LaLa returning from the dead. The ASA has a new scout in Freeland and what better way to look out for meta-humans than putting the scout in a local high school. Kara is also advised Jefferson is Black Lightning and based on prior interactions, it’s going to be interesting to see where her alliance truly lies.

Some Questions:

  • Where is Whale? Another week, another episode without Freeland’s crime boss, Tobias Whale. Where the heck is he? We are told he is out of town on business but this show needs this great character back. The positive might be with Whale missing a few episodes this season, a possible bigger plotline will allow Whale return in a prominent role for season 2 of Black Lightning.

This Episode’s Grade: A (Amazing)

This week’s episode set up all the sub-plots and characters perfectly for the home stretch of the season. Gambi taking on the government agency ASA, LaLa making moves to overtake Whale as crime boss of Freeland, and Thunder/Black Lightning learning to work as a team to not only save Gambi but take down the makers of Greenlight once and for all. This week’s episode has become my favorite episode since the pilot as each plotline was integral to the story and was not just “filler”. As much as I want to see how this season concludes and as much as I wish there were more than 13 episodes this season, the limited run of episodes has brought about a much more concise and better story.
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You can catch Jason Brigger on the geek-centric podcast, The History of Bad Ideas, as new episodes are released every week at www.nerdly.co.uk or subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. You can listen to their latest episode right here
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